Olsen still in running for the 5th spot
Left-hander Scott Olsen is scheduled to make his first appearance of the spring and as a Bucco on Monday against the Orioles.
Olsen has been sidelined due to a mild hamstring strain this spring. But despite being behind on schedule, the Pirates are still considering him for the fifth spot in the rotation.
With less than three weeks remaining until opening day, does Olsen even have time to be stretched out enough to start? If he were to pitch every fifth day (increasing his outings by an inning and 15 pitches) Olsen would have the strength to pitch about five innings (75 pitches).
General Manager Neal Huntington told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “It’s a challenge, but provided Scott continues to feel good, provided he continues to make strides, there is enough time. There’s not a lot of room for a setback or margin for error, but he has continued to progress as we go forward. If he’s not ready, that’s a decision we’ll make at the end of Spring Training — what happens at that point in time.”
Olsen has had an injury plagued career. Since 2007, he has been placed on the disabled list three times (twice 15-day, once 60-day) –most of the setbacks were from sore shoulder, inflammation and labrum surgery.
Olsen has made it known that he is not interested in a bullpen role. In early March, he told the Pittsburgh- Post Gazette, “They didn’t bring me in here to be a bullpen guy. They want to do that, we are going to have to have a conversation about it, and we haven’t had one about it.”
If he is unable to sufficiently build up his arm –and let’s not forget, both Charlie Morton and Brad Lincoln are having themselves great springs –Olsen will have no choice but to pitch from the ‘pen. He said on Sunday, “I don’t really have much of a choice,” Olsen said, when asked if he’d accept a relief role. “I’m open for whatever.”